What Federal Court’s Overtime Ruling Means for Home Care in Mass

A federal appeals court affirmed a regulation set by the Department of Labor that opens overtime wage protections for 2 million workers nationwide, but in Massachusetts applies only to independently-hired personal care attendants (PCAs).

The Boston Globe ran an article on the court’s decision and spoke to the Alliance to confirm that Massachusetts laws already cover overtime pay workers employed by home care agencies.

To clear up lingering confusion of how this decision applies to some, but not all home care workers in the state, the Alliance sent out the following press release:

What Federal Court’s Overtime Ruling Really Means for Home Care in Mass.

State Rules on Overtime, Minimum Wage Already Shielded Home Care Agency Workers

 BOSTON, MA – While a recent Federal Court of Appeals ruling opens the door for 2 million home care workers to receive overtime pay protections across the country, in Massachusetts the ruling is business as usual for approximately 20,000 home care agency workers already protected under state law.

“For many years, home care agencies here in Massachusetts have been governed by the state regulation on paid minimum wage and overtime so this is nothing new in our industry,” said Home Care Alliance Executive Director Patricia Kelleher. “We are encouraged and pleased that the federal law has been upheld, and hope that it will prompt greater compliance and understanding among any agencies in Massachusetts that were confused about whether to follow state or federal guidelines”

Private-pay home care agencies – paid out-of-pocket by individuals and families to provide in-home supportive services – have for years been obligated to follow the Massachusetts rules on providing overtime pay and minimum wage protections. However, independently-hired and consumer-directed personal care attendants paid through MassHealth have not had such protections. In addition to minimum wage and overtime requirements, private-pay home care agencies are required to conduct comprehensive background checks on workers, carry liability insurance.  Those agencies with accreditation through the Home Care Alliance also provide worker training and supervision to deliver the best possible services.

“Different states have different laws, and the fact that Massachusetts regulations go above and beyond a majority of states is a benefit to our workforce,” said Kelleher. “Home care agencies support adopting appropriate state oversight in the interest of protecting both consumers and workers.”

 

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